By Holly Wise
Killeen Daily Herald
COPPERAS COVE - The buzz of chain saws and the grinding of a woodchipper could be heard in a country neighborhood just west of Copperas Cove on Friday as 70 people converged on the home of Staff Sgt. Chris Craft in support of Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, Warrior Transition Brigade's Make a Difference Day.
"What you see is 50 percent of these soldiers out here are wounded warriors helping another soldier," Capt. Malcolm Wilson said.
Craft, 35, was critically injured March 13, 2008, in Iraq in an explosion involving three roadside bombs. He is set to medically retire from the Army in December after 16 years of service.
"This is just showing Chris he's appreciated," Craft's wife, Brittany, 23, said. "It makes me happy to see him happy."
With his wife's arms wrapped around his waist, Craft leaned on his cane and watched the beehive of activity in his backyard.
"That helps tremendously," Craft said, gesturing to the stacks of cedar firewood and branches being fed into the chipper.
The Crafts eventually want to purchase cows or goats and raise their young family in the country environment.
"We want them to know what responsibility is and appreciate life," Brittany said of their 2-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son.
Watching the outpouring of respect for her husband was special for Brittany.
"To have other people acknowledge him ... I think it's opened his eyes to him that maybe he did do something good," she said.
Joining in the volunteer effort were regional Baxter Healthcare employees.
Regional Sales Manager Nancy Burton said her company contacted Fort Hood looking for an opportunity to help.
"They allowed us to come and pitch in," she said. "Our organization is very, very supportive of volunteering, especially as it relates to the U.S. troops."
Baxter Healthcare employee Roger Schneider was in charge of cooking lunch for everyone on a smoker donated for the event by the Copperas Cove chapter of Legacy Outfitters, a Christian men's group.
"To me, it's phenomenal," Baxter Healthcare employee Tom McGee said. "It's giving back to the service men and women that have sacrificed themselves that we be free today."
"It's good seeing these guys out here doing a lot of this stuff together," Wilson said. "We just enjoy helping out another soldier."
Contact Holly Wise at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7474.